As outrage-happy as our society is today, things weren’t all that different in decades past. When SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT was released back in 1984, for example, parents were so upset about the idea of the horror genre exploiting the holiday season that they forced the film to be pulled from theaters, despite the fact that most of them hadn’t even seen it. Santa was holding an axe, and that was enough for them.
Of course, the times have changed in many ways since then, and subsequent films featuring killer Santas weren’t met with the same controversy. There was the comedic SANTA’S SLAY in 2005 and even a remake of SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT in 2012, both films showing that the public had found more important issues to picket. Thanks to Todd McFarlane, a little of that holiday fear spread to toy shelves in 2007.
McFarlane Toys is most beloved by horror fans for their Movie Maniacs line, which gave us the first ever action figures of many of our favorite horror icons. But that line is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their many offerings, which included all sorts of original monsters. And with the Twisted Land of Oz figures in 2003, Todd and friends began putting their own spin on classic characters and tales.
THE WIZARD OF OZ-inspired horrors were technically the second series of a line originally dubbed Todd McFarlane’s Monsters, and subsequent years saw the release of the serial killer-themed 6 Faces of Madness series and then the Twisted Fairly Tales collection. The fifth and final series of the line, dubbed Twisted Christmas, is the one we’re here to talk about today, and it’s arguably the coolest of them all.
The killer in SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT looks like mere child’s play in comparison to Todd McFarlane’s depiction of Santa, and it’s pretty crazy that this toy didn’t spawn parental outrage. The figure put the “claws” in Santa Claus, as McFarlane turned the jolly old elf’s white gloves into Freddy Krueger-inspired murder weapons. As for the creepy gas mask, it was removable, revealing an exposed skull underneath.
You of course can’t have Santa without his wife Mrs. Claus, who McFarlane depicted in a decidedly less sinister fashion. It’s hard to imagine this version of Mrs. Claus being married to that gas-mask wearing mutant seen above, and unlike the other figures in the series, this one wasn’t exactly scary. Instead, McFarlane envisioned Santa’s beloved wife as a sexy stripper, and a blonde variant was also available.
You may have noticed a couple of elves hanging around Mrs. Claus’ stripper pole, and Santa’s little helpers also got a set of their own. Three individual elves were packaged together in the Twisted Christmas series, and they were able to be collectively displayed on one base. Carrying weapons that are bigger than their bodies, these elves are ready to do battle, eager to slice up any North Pole intruders.
One of the most beloved icons of Christmas is Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, though you’ve certainly never seen him like this before. In fact, Rudolph’s nose isn’t even red in the world of McFarlane Toys, nor is he interested in helping Santa deliver gifts to the good boys and girls. Standing on two legs, wrapped in Christmas lights, and wielding a battle axe, this beast is all about delivering holiday pain.
The most imposing figure in the Twisted Christmas collection is undoubtedly Jack Frost, who stands tall atop what looks to be an entire city. Literally borne out of the ice and snow, this part-tree monster is a pretty accurate representation of how nasty winter weather can be, and when he nips toes and noses, well, he does so quite literally. A truly awesome creation, worthy of starring in its own horror movie.
Todd McFarlane wasn’t the first person to turn Frosty the Snowman into a horror villain, as that honor belongs to the 1997 film JACK FROST. That said, his six-legged version of the sentient snowman is just a tad bit more horrifying, and I’m willing to bet it’ll take more than a blow dryer to defeat him. As a kid, you always wanted your snowman friend to come to life, but this toy makes you think twice about that.
Needless to say, the Twisted Christmas series was holiday horror done right!